CULTURE

New arrivals on Greek winemaking scene get off to a watchful start

Coming up with a new, good-quality wine is not easy, especially when the winemaker is not the same person as the one who owns or cultivates the vineyard. This is because good wine is largely dependent on the quality of its raw material, meaning the grapes, but there is only one way to ensure good-quality wine and that involves overseeing each process, from the fertilization and cultivation of the land to harvesting the crops. This is the first big step in winemaking that enologist Stavros Koroneos and his cousin and collaborator Michalis Koroneos wish they had control of just as they do the selection of the grapes and the rest of the stages that follow. It is a complicated process that has led them to produce two wines, a white wine based on the Moschofilero variety and, most recently, a rosé. Elegantly presented with labels designed by the German artist Helmut Middendorf, Koroneos Mantineia and Koroneos Rosé are the outcome of a methodical process that begins once the grapes are selected from the crops reaped by the cultivators of the vine. The Moschofilero variety is produced in the Mantineia region in the central Peloponnese for the white wine and is known for producing a rounded flavor and subtle aroma, while a blend of the so-called Aghiorghitiko variety from Nemea and the French Syrah variety is the component for the rosé wine. Depending on the variety, the period when the grapes are harvested varies. For the Koroneos Mantineia, the grapes are reaped in October and the wine is bottled in April. Vinification (the extraction of must) takes place in Mantineia but the stages of cooling and fermentation occur in Athens; everything takes place under the surveillance of Koroneos. Prioritizing optimum control of the winemaking process instead of mass production, Koroneos has intentionally kept production low. Distribution is also limited. But there are more plans for the future which involve more points of sale and possibly a red wine. As it stands, the wine produced by Koroneos adds one more choice to what is growing into a gradually more sophisticated field in Greece.